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Monday, May 30, 2016

Cruising the Web

It seems taht Hillary has a history of trying to hide her communications from the public. She also did so when she was First Lady.
As first lady, Hillary was embroiled in another scheme to bury sensitive White House e-mails, known internally as “Project X.”

In 1999, as investigators looked into Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate and other scandals involving the then-first lady, it was discovered that more than 1 million subpoenaed e-mails were mysteriously “lost” due to a “glitch” in a West Wing computer server.

The massive hole in White House archives covered a critical two-year period — 1996 to 1998 — when Republicans and special prosecutor Ken Starr were subpoenaing White House e-mails.

Despite separate congressional investigations and a federal lawsuit over Project X, high-level e-mails dealing with several scandals were never turned over. And the full scope of Bill and Hillary Clintons’ culpability in the parade of scandals was never known.

To those well-versed in Clinton shenanigans, this all sounds distressingly familiar.

Thanks to another server-related problem, Clinton so far has gotten away with withholding more than 30,000 e-mails from congressional committees investigating the Benghazi terrorism cover-up, Clinton Foundation foreign-influence peddling and other scandals....

During the Project X e-mail scandal, career White House staffers and contractors found that someone close to the first lady had basically turned off the White House’s automated e-mail-archiving system. They fingered White House “special assistant” Laura Crabtree Callahan, who was overseeing the computer contractors despite obtaining computer-science degrees from diploma mills.

The State Department staffer who set up Clinton’s unsecured server in the basement of Clinton’s home in Chappaqua also lacked computer experience and qualifications.

That IT staffer, Bryan Pagliano, appears to be playing a similar role in this e-mail caper as Callahan did in the White House — that of a lackey used to help thwart public requests to see information about the government-related business of the Clintons.

Despite having no computer-security experience or even security clearance, Pagliano catapulted from a Clinton campaign worker to the secretary’s own “special adviser” dealing with the department’s classified e-mail system.

On top of his $133,000-a-year State Department salary, Clinton personally paid Pagliano thousands of dollars between 2009 and 2013 to set up and run a private home-brew server for her, separate from the government system she was supposed to use, where she received and stored thousands of classified government e-mails. His work for the secretary was clearly a rogue operation, because the department’s inspector general found that his boss, the deputy chief information officer, was “unaware of his technical support of the secretary’s e-mail system.”
I'm sure this is all just a coincidence and only evil-minded conspiracy theorists would see some sort of pattern here. Oh, and here is another similarity. Just as those in the State Department who raised concerns about her email records and whether they were being preserved were told to shut up and "never to speak of the secretary's personal e-mail system again," the same thing happened when she was First Lady.
Likewise, career staffers and contractors at the White House were ordered to keep those earlier unarchived e-mails secret. In fact, they testified that Callahan personally threatened them with jail time if they disclosed the gap to prosecutors or lawmakers.
And Cheryl Mills was smack in the middle of both hidden e-mail stories.

Apparently, the arguments and dysfunction at the top of the Trump campaign is a feature, not a bug.
For the past two months, Donald Trump has presided over a political team riddled with turf wars, staff reshuffling and dueling power centers.

But the tensions are more than typical campaign chaos: They illustrate how Trump likes to run an organization, whether it’s a real estate venture or his presidential bid. Interviews with current and former Trump associates reveal an executive who is fond of promoting rivalries among subordinates, wary of delegating major decisions, scornful of convention and fiercely insistent on a culture of loyalty around him.

Whether the drama of recent weeks has been cathartic or calamitous is an open question — and one that is increasingly important as the general election phase of the campaign unfolds. The tumult has often dominated news coverage, stepping on Trump’s own campaign message and averting the spotlight from missteps by leading Democratic contender Hillary Clinton.

“It is definitely dysfunctional compared to, say, Ace Hardware Store,” said David Carney, a veteran Republican political strategist. But, he added, “it is not fatal in and of itself.”

....From his 26th-floor office in New York, Trump ...is attempting to bend the nature and norms of a presidential campaign to his unpredictable and outsize personality, eschewing the top-down, consultant-heavy mode used by most candidates.

Rather, Trump functions simultaneously as his own big-picture strategist and micro-managing chief executive. He has gotten involved in intramural skirmishing that has engulfed his campaign, both stoking and calming tensions depending on the circumstances.
Sounds like he wants to run his campaign, and perhaps the executive branch, as just one big episode on his reality show.

Apparently, bullying a federal judge doesn't work as well as such bullying might work in his business and in political campaign.
A federal judge has ordered the release of internal Trump University documents in an ongoing lawsuit against the company, including “playbooks” that advised sales personnel how to market high-priced courses on getting rich through real estate.

The Friday ruling, in which Judge Gonzalo Curiel cited heightened public interest in presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, was issued in response to a request by The Washington Post. The ruling was a setback for Trump, whose attorneys argued that the documents contained trade secrets.

Curiel’s order came the same day that Trump railed against the judge at a boisterous San Diego rally for his handling of the case, in which students have alleged they were misled and defrauded. The trial is set for November.

Trump, who previously questioned whether Curiel’s Hispanic heritage made him biased due to Trump’s support for building a wall on the Mexican border, said Friday that Curiel “happens to be, we believe, Mexican.” Trump called the judge a “hater of Donald Trump” who had “railroaded” him in the case.

“I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself. I think it’s a disgrace that he is doing this, “ Trump said.

In his order, Curiel noted that Trump had emerged as a leading presidential candidate over the course of the civil case against Trump University and that Trump had “placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue.” The judge pointed to a previous case to say that courts deciding on public disclosure must weigh “whether a party benefitting from the order of confidentiality is a public entity or official; and . . . whether the case involves issues important to the public.”
Sounds reasonable and what Trump should have realized would happen in cases he's involved in as he runs for the presidency.

Republicans who were appalled at the way that Obama took the occasion of the State of the Union address to criticize the Supreme Court's ruling on Citizen United should be appalled at the prospect of a President Trump attempting to bully the courts from the Oval Office. And this federal court case is just the beginning. The man has been involved in at least 169 federal lawsuits according to research going back to 1983. That number doesn't include cases in state courts. And many of these cases are ones that Trump himself initiated. He has a long history of bringing lawsuits.
Mr. Trump’s political opponents have cited his pattern of litigiousness to buttress their contention that he isn’t a true conservative.

“Trump clearly has an affinity for filing lawsuits, partly because he owns a lot of businesses,” said James Copland, director of legal policy at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank that is seeking to overhaul the legal system. Most troubling, he said, is “where he is using litigation as a bullying tactic” against individuals.

“For the massive size of Mr. Trump’s many companies, he is not litigious at all,” Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in an email. “When he is sued, however, he rarely settles the suit.”

He doesn’t like to settle, she said, “because if he did, he would be sued much more often. This is the kind of mentality our country needs—fight back and win.”
There goes the desire of conservatives to liberate the economy from excessive litigation. We know from Clinton's presidency that the Supreme Court will allow litigation against a sitting president for conduct prior to his presidency to proceed in civil court. I can envision a President Trump being involved in such suits throughout his presidency. And we'd be treated to the edifying prospect of a sitting president making cracks about the ethnic heritage of sitting federal judges who rule against him. My mind shutters at the prospect.

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Last week Donald Trump took the opportunity of campaigning in New Mexico to gratuitously take a swipe at Governor Susana Martinez for the sin of not having endorsed him. Jay Nordlinger figured it would be worthwhile to contrast the careers of the two since, as he says, she represents the "old Republican party" and Trump represents the new "Trumpified GOP."
Martinez, to say it again, is a Reagan Republican, a classical liberal, a reformer, a problem-solver. Trump is a nationalist, a populist, a demagogue — the type you expect to find on the European right, rather than the American one.

The governor grew up in El Paso. Her parents were Reagan Democrats. Her dad had been a boxing champion in the Marines. Then a sheriff. He made himself a businessman, and a very successful one. Martinez’s husband, Chuck Franco, is a former cop.

She knows what real men are. She knows what Trump is too, I’m sure. She knows the difference between achievement and bluster, between strength and bullying.

Martinez was a district attorney in New Mexico for 25 years. She dealt with the dregs — the rapists of children, for example. She is not the kind to be intimidated. She has a soft, feminine exterior, but is obviously tough as nails.

As DA and now as governor, she has had to address very serious problems. New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the Union. She has addressed education, in particular. For 30 years, she has done her utmost to keep people safe from predators and to make life in general better.

What has Trump been doing these 30 years? Running his various cons: Trump University, the vodka, the steaks, and all the rest of it. Aggrandizing himself. Putting his name on things. Posing as his own spokesman. Sleeping around, and boasting about it.

Trump is reality TV; Martinez is reality. She has dealt with reality, and tried to improve it. And succeeded, in measurable ways. But the public evidently prefers the Trump type. There’s no accounting for taste.

Over the decades, Martinez has cared for her handicapped sister. This is no easy task, physically or mentally, as people who have done it can attest. Trump, by contrast, mocks handicapped people on the campaign trail, for the enjoyment of his audience.

They could not be more different, in how they have lived their lives, in their senses of right and wrong. Trump is right to disdain Martinez. She is almost the anti-him.

And it is Trump’s GOP. We are all supposed to bow down to the great, loud, lying, nasty orange god. Bless all those who resist.
Exactly. God help us.

Does this seem like an intriguing juxtaposition too delicious to be a complete coincidence? The Libertarian Party held their convention at the Rosen Center in Orlando this past weekend.
It just so happens that a Comic Con is also being held at the Rosen Center this weekend: people dressed as Harry Potter, the Hulk and "Star Wars" characters have had to walk by the Libertarian booths to make it to their own convention.
Many Libertarians are wondering if they really want to nominate two former Republican governors to head up their ticket.
There's a surreal feeling in this parallel contest, exacerbated by oblivious bikini-clad vacationers frolicking in the pool outside and the sometimes puzzled-looking MegaCon attendees walking by in costumes inspired by superheroes and video-game characters.
Perhaps the level of our politics would be improved if more candidates encountered Hagrid in their campaigns. I just wondered whether Trump or Hillary would qualify as Voldemort. I guess I see Hillary more as Dolores Umbridge.

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Conor Friedersdorf details how the barbarians at the gate won at Yale in driving out a professor and his wife for the sin of the wife, Erika Christakis having written an email recommending that students chill out about sensing moral insults in people's choice of Halloween costumes. She felt that young people should exercise their own judgment to choose their costumes.
“Have we lost faith in young people’s capacity—in your capacity—to exercise self-censure, through social norming, and also in your capacity to ignore or reject things that trouble you?” she asked. “What does this debate about Halloween costumes say about our view of young adults, of their strength and judgment? Whose business is it to control the forms of costumes of young people? It’s not mine, I know that.”
For that sin, many students erupted in outrage. They couldn't accept the recommendation that people just ignore a costume that offends them or that they approach the person and explain why that choice was offensive. Tolerating other people's choices is not what students want these days. Students harassed the couple and screamed at them. They had no interest in discussing differing views. In short, the respect that this couple had for the judgment of young, intelligent college students was proven to be misplaced.

Efforts by other faculty members to express support for the couple were discouraged by others who worried that their name on a letter of support would make them targets of the protests roiling college campuses. And now they've resigned, victims of a society that caters to the heated wishes of students to never encounter any view that doesn't support their own views. Friedersdorf concludes,
When Yale’s history is written, they [Nicholas and ERika Christakis] should be regarded as collateral damage harmed by people who abstracted away their humanity. Yale activists felt failed by their institution and took out their frustration on two undeserving scapegoats who had only recently arrived there. Students who profess a belief in the importance of feeling safe at home marched on their house, scrawled angry messages in chalk beneath their bedroom window, hurled shouted insults and epithets, called for their jobs, and refused to shake their hands even months later, all over one email. And the couple’s ultimate resignation does nothing to improve campus climate.

What a waste.

NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof writes
of the negative response he got from other progressives when he dared to write that they should be more tolerant of those who have different opinions than they do.
In a column a few weeks ago, I offered “a confession of liberal intolerance,” criticizing my fellow progressives for promoting all kinds of diversity on campuses — except ideological. I argued that universities risk becoming liberal echo chambers and hostile environments for conservatives, and especially for evangelical Christians.

As I see it, we are hypocritical: We welcome people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.

It’s rare for a column to inspire widespread agreement, but that one led to a consensus: Almost every liberal agreed that I was dead wrong.
The assumption by many who wrote him or commented is that all conservatives are narrow-minded bigots and so should be ostracized from polite company and, especially, from university positions.
Sure, there are dumb or dogmatic conservatives, just as there are dumb and dogmatic liberals. So let’s avoid those who are dumb and dogmatic, without using politics or faith as a shorthand for mental acuity.

On campuses at this point, illiberalism is led by liberals. The knee-jerk impulse to protest campus speakers from the right has grown so much that even Democrats like Madeleine Albright, the first female secretary of state, have been targeted.

Obviously, the challenges faced by conservatives are not the same as those faced by blacks, reflecting centuries of discrimination that continues today. I’ve often written about unconscious bias and about how many “whites just don’t get it.” But liberals claim to be champions of inclusiveness — so why, in the academic turf that we control, aren’t we ourselves more inclusive? If we are alert to bias in other domains, why don’t we tackle our own liberal blind spot?

Frankly, the torrent of scorn for conservative closed-mindedness confirmed my view that we on the left can be pretty closed-minded ourselves.
These high-minded self-congratulatory liberals don't seem to realize that they're violating classical liberal thinking. They're exercising the bigotry that they ascribe to all conservatives.
When a survey finds that more than half of academics in some fields would discriminate against a job seeker who they learned was an evangelical, that feels to me like bigotry.

Second, there’s abundant evidence of the benefits of diversity. Bringing in members of minorities is not an act of charity but a way of strengthening an organization. Yet universities suffer a sickly sameness: Four studies have found that at most only about one professor in 10 in the humanities or social sciences is a Republican.

I’ve often denounced conservative fearmongering about Muslims and refugees, and the liberal hostility toward evangelicals seems rooted in a similar insularity. Surveys show that Americans have negative views of Muslims when they don’t know any; I suspect many liberals disdain evangelicals in part because they don’t have any evangelical friends.
If they assume that all evangelicals are narrow-minded bigots, then they have undoubtedly never really gotten to know evangelicals. If they assume that every conservatives delights in increasing the poverty of minorities then they have never had any true engagement with conservative thinkers and the policy recommendations they endorse.

I know that growing up in the 1960s and going to college and grad school in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I don't think I had ever encountered a devout Christian until I moved to North Carolina in the mid-1980s. And some of those whom I then met had never previously been friends with a Jew. And I had never met devout Muslims until I started teaching. I believe that I benefited from the encounters and would like to think that others did also. If we embrace that sort of diversity, we should open our minds to ideological diversity. As a conservative, I feel like such a distinct minority in my daily life and often keep quiet when politics or ideological positions are being discussed. I don't hide my views, but leave it to his blog for expressing them. Part of that is that I teach government and politics to impressionable teenagers and don't wish to take advantage of that platform. Like the Yale professors, I believe that young people benefit from making up their minds rather than having me push my positions on them. It's a shame that so many progressives, especially in the universities don't have parallel open minds.

As Kristof writes, in many college departments "it’s easier to find a Marxist in some disciplines than a Republican." And they're fine with that.

But, hey, why do that when they can comfort themselves in the cushion of their own prejudices. And we wonder what has led so many university students to be so very intolerant of those whose views aren't in perfect alignment with their own.


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George Will explains how the debate in Britain over leaving the EU is really about the choice for self-government versus rule by the administrative state.
American conservatives would regard Britain’s withdrawal from the EU as the healthy rejection of political grandiosity.

Gove’s friend, Prime Minister David Cameron, who opposes Brexit, says that the referendum is “perhaps the most important decision the British people will have to take at the ballot box in our lifetimes.” Advocates of Brexit agree, but add: If Britons vote to remain in the EU, this might be the last important decision made at British ballot boxes because important decisions will increasingly be made in Brussels.

The EU’s “democracy deficit” is mistakenly considered merely an unintended injury done by the creation of a blessing — a continent-wide administrative state. Actually, the deficit is the point of such a state. In Europe, as in the United States, the administrative state exists to marginalize politics — to achieve Henri de Saint-Simon’s goal of “replacing the government of persons by the administration of things.” The idea of a continent-wide European democracy presupposes the existence of a single European demos, the nonexistence of which can be confirmed by a drive from, say, Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic....

If, as some serious people here fear, Europe’s current crisis of migration is just the beginning of one of the largest population movements in history, the EU’s enfeebled national governments must prepare to cope with inundations. But each EU member’s latitude for action exists at the sufferance of EU institutions.

Gove believes that most of the British public, and even most members of Parliament, see the familiar trappings and procedures of the House of Commons — the mace, question time — and think nothing has changed. But most of binding law in Britain — estimates vary from 55 percent to 65 percent — does not arise from the Parliament in Westminster but from the European Commission in Brussels.

The EU has a flag no one salutes, an anthem no one sings, a president no one can name, a parliament that no one other than its members wants to have more power (which must be subtracted from national legislatures), a capital of coagulated bureaucracies that no one admires or controls, a currency that presupposes what neither does nor should exist (a European central government administering fiscal policy), and rules of fiscal behavior (limits on debt-to-GDP ratios) that few if any members obey and none have been penalized for ignoring.
No wonder Obama recommends that Britain stay in the EU. It represents his vision of how the world should be and the path he'd love for the United States to follow.


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Well, we had a very fun trip to Dallas. The team didn't do as well as we hoped, but did do about what I expected. We had a five and five record from the matches on Saturday which meant that we didn't advance to the playoffs. That meant we finished at 110 out of 272 schools. Respectable, but not extraordinary. But the kids seemed to still have fun even though they're disappointed. Now, I just have to grade final exams and I'm done with this school year.

2 comments:

tfhr said...

Who cares about her criminality?! (Obviously nobody on the left) The real story here is that Hillary actually created a job! Bryan Pagiano's $133,000-a-year State Department salary - which still needed some more cash on the side, with a wink from Hillary - is the only job that Hillary has created that has been identified publicly.

SoccerPlayingMom said...

Betsy -- I applaud you for allowing your students to think for themselves. I tried to do the same (at least to some extent) when raising my own kids. I would tell them what I thought but then also explain why others thought differently in as objective terms as I could. I wanted them to understand both sides and decide for themselves. I think that is an important thing for all educators particularly in public schools. Unfortunately today too many educators do feel that it's OK to teach with bias.